Magic Theatre group was formed by the students of Utkal University of Culture under the leadership of Prajna Ranjan Khatua, a second-year postgraduate student of the university, in 2012.
“The idea was to portray issues affecting the society through plays,” says Prajna who is already a name to reckon with in the field of Odia television. His comic roles in ETV Sabu Thik Chalichi, OTV Tarang’s CID and MBC’s Golmaal have been popular among audiences.
A team of 25, the group mostly performs plays in Hindi. ‘’The reason is that we can take our plays to different fora on the national platform. In fact, two of our plays have already won awards at the national drama competition. In 2013, the team won the second prize at the competition for staging Hindi play Marg and in 2012, and third prize for its play Bachao,’’ explains Prajna.
Because the team performs in Hindi, the dialogues are mostly written by Prajna himself and it takes them more than five months to fine-tune a play for a performance. They practise and rehearse before sunrise as members lack the time for it otherwise. “We ensure that all of us have some role or the other in every play, so that none feels left out. And all of us are students with other acting commitments. So the only time we have is before sunrise,’’ says Prajna.
The issues that the group usually performs about are environment pollution, depleting greenery and problems plaguing the youth. A majority of team members are students of the Utkal University of Culture, whereas some are from Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyala and others belong to other cultural outfits.
Magic theatre has also performed at a Sangeet Natak Akademi event at Kalahandi. The team also participates in local natya mahotsavs. Ask them how they manage their finances and Prajna says, “I do serials and the money I earn from them, I use to stage plays, as my passion lies in creative pursuits. So I will go out of my way to continue performing with the team all my life.’’